Test Methodology and Performance
|Category||Model||HEXUS Review||Reviewed Price||Warranty||Product Page|
|Air||Cooler Master MasterAir Pro 4||April 2017||£40||5 Years||coolermaster.com|
|Noctua NH-D15S||N/A||£70||6 Years||noctua.at|
|Liquid||be quiet! Silent Loop 240mm||October 2016||£115||3 Years||bequiet.com|
|Cooler Master MasterLiquid Pro 280||March 2017||£110||5 Years||coolermaster.com|
|NZXT Kraken X52||November 2016||£130||6 Years||nzxt.com|
HEXUS CPU Cooler Test Bench
|Hardware Components||Product Page|
|Processor||Intel Core i7-6700K (overclocked to 4.4GHz)||intel.com|
|Motherboard||Asus Z170 Pro||asus.com|
|Graphics Card||Palit GeForce GTX 980 Ti Super JetStream||palit.com|
|Memory||Crucial Ballistix Sport LT 32GB (2x16GB) DDR4-2400||crucial.com|
|Power Supply||be quiet! Dark Power Pro 11 850W||bequiet.com|
|Primary Storage||256GB Samsung 950 Pro||samsung.com|
|Secondary Storage||512GB SK hynix Canvas SC300||skhynix.com|
|Chassis||Fractal Design Define R5 Windowed||fractal-design.com|
|Monitor||Philips Brilliance 4K Ultra HD LED (288P6LJEB/00)||philips.co.uk|
|Operating system||Windows 10 (64-bit)||microsoft.com|
Our test platform includes a quad-core Intel Core i7-6700K processor overclocked to 4.4GHz across all cores and 32GB of Crucial Ballistix Sport LT DDR4 memory set to run at 2,400MHz using the built-in XMP profile.
To get a feel for how the above coolers compare, CPU voltage is upped to an above-average 1.3V and temperature is logged while a large 4K video clip is encoded in multiple passes using the freeware HandBrake utility. The workload tasks all four cores/eight threads for a prolonged period and, in order to provide a stabilised reading, we then calculate the average temperature across all four cores from the last few minutes of encoding.
Actual CPU temperature is recorded and we also graph the delta temperature - that's CPU temperature minus ambient temperature. Last but not least, to give you an idea of cooler acoustics, we use a PCE-318 noise meter to measure overall system noise in both idle and load states.
Our Fractal Design Define R5 chassis is set to run with its two stocks fans - a 140mm Silent Series R2 front intake and a 140mm Silent Series R2 rear exhaust - both of which are set to low speed via the integrated fan hub. All CPU cooler fans are set to a 'silent' PWM profile from within the Asus BIOS, and when testing liquid coolers the pump is connected to the motherboard's dedicated water-pump header.
When a radiator is installed, the relevant top ModuVents are removed from the Fractal Design Define R5 chassis, and any bundled fans are configured to push air through the radiator and out of the chassis.
The MasterAir Pro 4 is the most affordable CPU cooler on show, and by some distance, so it's no surprise to see it slotting in at the bottom of the chart. Nonetheless, it manages to keep our overclocked Core i7-6700K processor below 70ºC under maximum load. Not a bad return by any means.
There are trade-offs to coolers priced lower than their premium brethren. The £70 Noctua NH-D15S runs very cool and extremely quiet, whereas the £40 Cooler Master MasterAir Pro 4 runs a a few degrees warmer and a couple of decibels louder. You can barely hear the cooler when idle, but as heat rises and fan speed increases, the noise is noticeable in our otherwise quiet test platform. It's hardly bothersome, but users seeking whisper-quiet operation may need to spend a little more to get the desired effect.